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Dance Group Hosts Its Own Benefit

March 5, 2002, 12:00 AM EST

Mark Morris (in blue plaid suit) posed with Mikhail Baryshnikov and event chairs Isabella Rossellini and Isaac Mizrahi at the benefit for the Mark Morris Dance Group.

Mark Morris Dance Group benefitMark Morris Dance Center Monday, 02.25.02, 9:30 PM onward
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An evening of modern dance at the Brooklyn Academy of Music followed by a gala party across the street kicked off the 14th season of the Mark Morris Dance Group. The gala benefit, chaired by Shelby Gans, Isaac Mizrahi and Isabella Rossellini, supported the New Works Fund of the dance company and attracted nearly 400 guests (including dance great Mikhail Baryshnikov), who paid between $350 and $25,000 to support the group.

Both the benefit's look and its venue were closely related to the modern dance troupe. The newly renovated Mark Morris Dance Center on Lafayette Avenue, where the group rehearses, served as the event's venue, and Carolyn Buckley, director of visual design for The Catering Company, created decor that played off of the blue and green decor theme of one of the works being performed that night, a piece called V.

Buckley transformed the dance center's fifth floor rehearsal space into an aqua-tinted oasis. Guests were served green drinks (a slushy green apple martini and an “aquatini” were two choices), and dinner tables held fishbowl centerpieces filled with a water-and-silicon-gel substance that created jelly-like pebbles. The mixture was dyed blue and green, and then irises were arranged inside. Similar vases filled with the pebbles held white votive candles on the buffet table, which was draped with sheer, shimmering green and periwinkle fabric. Even some of the food was green: Wasabi peas were placed in big bowls on the main bar, and the buffet included several salads, including a chickpea and cucumber salad with fresh mint and a baby spinach and watercress salad with orange segments and lemongrass vinaigrette. Main entrees included a seafood and sausage paella, tandoori-spiced chicken and chargrilled salmon accompanied by daikon relish and ginger-spiked lemon aioli.

In the back room, however, the cool theme turned hot. Buckley created a so-called “bedroom lounge” with a sexy, cozy, Asian-inspired look. Bathed in red lighting, the room used a red Oriental carpet, chaise lounges and overstuffed ottomans (all rented from Props for Today). Cocktail tables were covered with decorative red-hued linens from A.S.A.P. Linens, Chinese paper lanterns hung from the ceiling, and the “bedroom” bar served only red drinks--kir royales, cherry martinis, red wine and Singapore slings.

--Erika Rasmusson

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